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  1. ITV Report

New campaign to raise awareness of bowel cancer

Gail Allen Photo:

Around 800 people die from bowel cancer in our region every year.

But the charity Bowel Cancer UK says the condition is treatable, even curable, if caught early enough and is now campaigning for GP's to be able to get patients tested sooner.

A woman from Bedfordshire, who has terminal bowel cancer, is helping raise awareness of the disease to help others avoid the same fate

Gail Allen, 54, from Arlesey in Bedfordshire went to her GP repeatedly with abdominal pain, but didn't have a colonoscopy for 13 months. By this time the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs. She will never know if earlier diagnosis could have saved her life.

Everything has been taken it's horrendous. I'm leaving my children, my husband, and loads of friends. They know that they are not going to have a mum like their friends will have grandmothers for their children. It just won't happen here, the life expectancy is not brilliant.

The doctors have got to have more responsibility to say we will send this person for a test, just in case, because just in case could save somebody's life"

– Gail Allen

Gail is supporting a campaign by Bowel Cancer UK who want GPs to be given the flexibility to send more people for tests, particularly colonoscopy's, which are the most accurate way to identify bowel cancer

Currently there is a problem of delayed diagnosis in the UK for bowel cancer and that's because around 50% of people diagnosed actually don't present to their GPs with the standard high risk symptoms and so what we are calling for is a liberalisation of guidance so that more people can be referred through much more quickly for diagnostic tests so that bowel cancer can be ruled out first rather than last."

– Deborah Alsina, Bowel Cancer UK
  • Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK
  • More than 16,000 people die from the disease every year
  • 9 out of ten people will survive if diagnosed early
  • How to spot the symptoms

Gail is trying to build as many happy memories with her family in the time they have left together. Her other main focus, is trying to stop anybody else being diagnosed too late.